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Hargrave claims self-defense in son's shooting

By Mackenzie Wilson
Published On: Oct 30 2012 09:25:59 PM CDT

NewsChannel 21's Mackenzie Wilson reports from Jim Hargrave's murder trial in the shooting death of his son

BEND, Ore. -

Did Jim Hargrave's physical disabilities drive him to turn a gun on his son?  That theory was presented to jurors Tuesday as Hargrave's lawyer called his doctor to testify. 

Day four of the murder trial offered a prime example of why sometimes the wheels of justice turn very slowly. The state rested its case after presenting eight witnesses, and the defense now gets its turn.

Jurors were kept out of the courtroom for much of the day while the state and defense argued over the admissibility of testimony from Hargrave's kidney doctor, Russell Massine.

Hargrave's lawyers wanted Massine, a nephrologist specializing in kidneys, to testify about his physical condition around the time of the shooting. Prosecutors argued it was not relevant to the case at hand. 

Deschutes County Circuit Judge Wells Ashby allowed Massine to take the stand, but District Attorney Patrick Flaherty had plenty of objections to him being an "expert" witness.

"Frankly, (he) isn't qualified as an expert witness to tell the jury what mental or psychological effects the high or low blood glucose level would have on the defendant's mental capacity," said Flaherty.

Massine focused on Hargrave's poor health last December. He told jurors because Hargrave is partially paralyzed on his left side from a stroke in the '90s and has kidney failure, he was in extremely frail condition.

"Although chronologically he's in his 60s, physiologically he's more a kin to a man in his 70s, I suppose," said Massine as the jury looked on.

The defense used Massine to bolster their self-defense claim, basically suggesting Hargrave had two choices: Kill or be killed.

The trial continues Wednesday morning    

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